10 Daring Art Heists That Stunned The World

Published on March 25, 2024

Credit: Eric TERRADE

Despite the fact that stealing art is arguably just as bad as any common crime, art heists have always captivated the imagination of the public, and the complex feats of these sophisticated robbers are depicted in countless movies and books. These audacious crimes often involve meticulous planning, intricate schemes, and sometimes, even a dash of glamour.

From masterpieces swiped in seconds to robberies that still baffle authorities, here are 10 of the most sensational museum and artwork thefts that have captured the world's attention.


A Nautical Heist (1473)

Credit: Kameron Kincade

Who said pirates couldn’t be art lovers? The daring theft of Hans Memling’s "The Last Judgment" was the first art heist to be recorded in history, and it took place in the sea, of all places. The religious painting was aboard a ship bound for Florence, Italy, when it was boarded by a Polish privateer called Paul Beneke, who proceeded to steal the painting among other valuables. The best part is that the painting ended up being blatantly displayed in the Basilica of the Assumption in Gdańsk, despite Italy’s efforts to get it back.


The Theft of the Mona Lisa (1911)

Credit: Michael Fousert

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is today the most famous painting in the world , so it's no surprise that it's been the target of theft. But in 1911 few people had heard of it, and the legendary painting was by no means as well guarded as now. When an Italian handyman was contracted by the museum he impulsively stole the masterpiece, hiding it in his apartment for over two years before it was recovered in Italy. Curiously, this theft was what actually made the painting world famous, so it wasn’t all bad in the end.


The Kidnapping of The Duke of Wellington (1961)

Credit: George Ciobra

In 1961, Britain’s national hero went missing from the National Gallery in London , and authorities were baffled. The thief turned out to be a retired bus driver called Kempton Bunton, who climbed through a window of the National Gallery, grabbed the Duke, and proceeded to straightforwardly leave the premises with the painting under his arm . Maybe museum security measures weren’t exactly bulletproof back then.


The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist (1990)

Credit: Hanyang Zhang

In one of the most infamous art heists in history, thieves disguised as police officers stormed Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, gagging the museum’s security guards and making off with 13 priceless artworks , including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas. To this day, the pieces - valued at hundreds of millions of dollars - remain missing and the museum displays empty frames where the paintings used to be, in a haunting reminder of the unfortunate incident.


Edvard Munch's "The Scream" Double Robbery (1994 & 2004)

Credit: Steven van Deursen

In 1994, two men broke into Oslo's National Gallery, making off with Edvard Munch's "The Scream." The thieves even mocked the museum’s anti-theft measures with a note that said: "Thanks for the poor security." While the painting was recovered later that year, that was not the last of the adventures of Munch’s iconic piece. Ten years later, in a brazen daylight robbery, armed thieves stormed Oslo's Munch Museum, snatching "The Scream" again together with "Madonna," another painting by the same artist. Again, the paintings were recovered but suffered some damage during the whole ordeal.


The Van Gogh Museum Heist (2002)

Credit: Frans Ruiter

In 2002, during early morning hours, two thieves made use of a ladder to break into the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam through the roof. In a lightning-fast robbery, they stole two paintings and fled: Vincent van Gogh’s "View of the Sea at Scheveningen" and "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen," valued at $30 million dollars. Fortunately, both pieces were recovered in 2016, but the theft highlighted the vulnerability of even the most prestigious institutions.


When Spiderman Robbed The Paris Modern Art Museum (2010)

Credit: Meizhi Lang

In a bold overnight heist, a lone thief broke into Paris's Modern Art Museum and made off with five paintings worth an estimated €100 million. In a Hollywood-worthy move , the man entered the gallery by removing a glass pane without breaking it and still managed to elude the three guards on duty inside. The burglar, aptly nicknamed "Spiderman" for his acrobatic feats , was captured afterward, but the paintings were unfortunately never recovered.


The Kunsthal Museum Heist (2012)

Credit: Diane Picchiottino

Seven artworks, including pieces by Picasso, Matisse, and Monet, were stolen from Rotterdam's Kunsthal Museum in a meticulously planned heist. The museum’s alarm system went off during the robbery, but the thieves escaped before the police arrived. The thieves were eventually caught, but the paintings are still missing - and authorities suspect they were destroyed by the mother of one of the thieves in an effort to protect her son.


The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Burglary (2015)

Credit: NFT gallery

While not focused on art, this audacious heist involved the theft of millions of pounds worth of jewels and other valuables from safe deposit boxes in London's Hatton Garden district. The theft was meticulously planned by a group of six elderly men - all experienced thieves - earning them the nickname of "Bad Grandpas." But it seems that crime never pays, as they were all quickly arrested afterward.


The Green Vault Heist (2019)

Credit: Nodir Khalilov

In 2019, the Green Vault museum in Dresden suffered a devastating blow when thieves infiltrated its Jewel Room, making off with priceless jewels and artifacts dating back to the 18th century. The thieves not only disabled alarms and streetlights by burning down a power box but also had to cut through iron bars and a reinforced window to gain entry, showing that there was quite a bit of planning behind the theft. Despite a series of arrests being made in connection to the robbery, only a portion of the stolen items were recovered.


Unveil The History Behind These 12 Medical Terms!

Published on March 25, 2024

Credit: Sasun Bughdaryan

Medical science is in constant evolution. Many of the procedures that now are considered state-of-the-art might be deemed barbaric in just a few decades. Each discovery in the field generates new medical concepts and illustrates the different paths that human ingenuity takes in its quest to save and improve lives.

Behind each seemingly clinical term lies a rich narrative, a story that traverses centuries and continents, revealing the evolution of medical understanding and the often-surprising origins of the words we take for granted in the modern healthcare lexicon.



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Fewer words within the medical realm are so used as this one. The word has two traceable origins: The Old French ospital, meaning hostel, shelter, or lodging; and the Late Latin hospitale, meaning guest-house or inn. But the definition we give to the word these days was first recorded in the 1540s when its meaning shifted toward "institution for sick or wounded people".



Credit: Ibrahim Boran

Anesthesia must have been a very welcome innovation within the medical world when it first appeared back in the 19th century. The term itself unfolds as a testament to the remarkable evolution of medical science in alleviating human suffering.

Rooted in the Greek language, with an, signifying absence, and aisthesis, representing sensation; anesthesia illustrates the profound concept of rendering patients insensible to pain during medical procedures.



Credit: National Cancer Institute

While not every medical term describes an ancient discovery, many rely on the Greek language for a definition. The term "biopsy", for example, combines the Greek words bios (life) and opsis (a sight).

This mix describes a medical procedure crucial for studying the intricacies of living tissues. Dating back to the early 20th century, the concept of biopsy gained prominence with the advancements in medical microscopy and pathology.



Credit: Eugene Chystiakov

A much less used word than the previous ones, borborygmus is a term that describes those loud gurgles your belly sometimes makes. The seldomly heard idiom traces to the Greek verb borboryzein , which means "to rumble".

Often referred to as stomach or bowel rumbling, borborygmus is the audible result of the movement of gases and fluids within the digestive system. While typically a normal bodily function, excessive borborygmi can be indicative of underlying gastrointestinal issues.



Credit: Sander Sammy

This unusual word shares its origin with the more common migraine. Both Latin and Greek speakers afflicted with a pain in one side of the head called their ailment hemicrania , from the Greek terms hemi -, meaning "half," and kranion , meaning "cranium."

The French people who experienced this ailment used migraine, a modification of hemicrania, for the very same condition. Nowadays, megrim and migraine can still be used interchangeably, but megrim is much less common.



Credit: Myriam Zilles

Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug used to prevent blood clots in conditions such as atrial fibrillation and rheumatic heart disease. Interestingly, the drug was originally developed for use as rat poison before it was used in human medicine.

Warfarin is derived from dicoumarol, which can be deadly in large doses. It was discovered in the 1920s after previously healthy cattle in the Northern Plains of America and the prairies of Canada started dying. It was found that the cattle were grazing on hay infested with mold, which turned the naturally occurring chemical coumarin (responsible for the smell of newly mown grass) into dicoumarol.



Credit: Simon Kadula

An extremely specific word, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a string of Latin terms that together describe an inflammatory lung disease caused by long-term inhalation of silica dust.

The formidable term claims to be one of the longest words in the English language. This tongue-twisting word showcases the intricacies of medical nomenclature.



Credit: Francesco Ungaro

An almost mystical word, "xenotransplantation" marks a frontier in medical science, combining the Greek roots xeno (foreign) and "transplantation." This term defines the concept of transplanting organs or tissues from one species to another.

While the idea dates back centuries, the term gained prominence in the 20th century with advancements in immunology and genetic engineering. Xenotransplantation holds the promise of addressing the shortage of human donor organs, yet it confronts challenges related to immune rejection and the risk of cross-species infections.


Muscae Volitantes

Credit: Chris Curry

Medicine has a word for almost everything. For example, those little transparent threads you sometimes see floating across your eyeball have a name: muscae volitantes ("flying flies"), the name for the little bits of protein or other material in the jelly inside your eye.

A term born from the intricate world of ophthalmology, where Latin meets the art of describing visual phenomena, muscae volitantes captures the floaters or specks that drift across one's field of vision due to particles or debris within the eye's vitreous humor.



Credit: Sander Sammy

A more dignified word for "hangover", veisalgia originated in a 2000 paper in a medical journal. It combines the Norwegian word kveis ("uneasiness following debauchery") with the Greek word for pain.

The undeniable universality of this human experience made it a matter of time -even if took so long- for a more serious defining term to appear.



Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

The realm of phobias has room for some strange fears and this one is near the top spot. Arachibutyrophobia is a kind of phobia -in the sense that is not recognized as an official phobia- where the person fears that the peanut butter being consumed could get stuck on the roof of their mouth.

The term is a combination of Greek words: arachi for "ground nut", butyr for butter, and phobia for fear . As we see, even the most specific and peculiar fears can find expression in the rich world of medical language.



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There is a good reason for doctors abbreviating so many of the words in their everyday lexicon and this one is one of those. "Esophagogastroduodenoscopy," a formidable amalgamation of Greek roots, unveils a crucial diagnostic procedure in the realm of gastroenterology.

This term, often abbreviated as EGD, signifies the examination of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum through an endoscope. Coined in the mid-20th century, the term reflects the precision demanded by medical language to encapsulate complex procedures.

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